A longitudinal study was conducted to examine sex-specific associations between changes in adiposity over a 10-year period, the FTO rs9939609 polymorphism, and leukocyte telomere length (LTL).
A population-based cohort including 2128 middle-aged and older Korean men (n = 1087) and women (n = 1041) participated in a prospective study. Anthropometric measurements of weight, height, and waist and hip circumference were taken at baseline (from 2001 to 2003) and at the 10-year follow-up period (from 2011 to 2012). The FTO rs9939609 polymorphism was genotyped using DNA samples collected at baseline and LTL was assessed at the 10-year follow-up period. Multiple linear regression analysis was used with adjustments for age, baseline body mass index, and other potential confounders.
Presence of the FTO rs9939609 polymorphism risk allele was inversely associated with LTL (p < 0.01) in all participants, with a significant association seen only in women when the genders were modeled separately. Conversely, a significant inverse association between changes in waist circumference and LTL was found in men (p < 0.001) but not in women. No significant interaction between adiposity measures and the FTO polymorphism in association with LTL was identified for either sex.
These data suggest that biological aging in men may be accelerated by increasing waist circumference, whereas in women, aging may be affected by genetic variations in FTO regardless of adiposity changes over time.